Erik shares his story illustrating the difference acceptance and support in the workplace can make:
“Anecdotally, I’m lucky enough to now be employed at a place that takes a vested interest in their employees’ mental health. However, I do have to acknowledge my privilege and admit not nearly enough people have it as good as I do when it comes to workplace support.
So what can employers do to support their employees’ mental health? After years of research and writing about this very issue, I’m more than happy to offer up a few suggestions. Some are simple gestures while others involve a systemic culture change and some heavy lifting when it comes to policy, but all are attainable”
Having support makes all the difference in the world, and with so much of our lives spent working, that support needs to be there as well. Erik focuses on the support for employee mental health, but he also talks about how much more likely members of the LGBTQ community are to suffer from them.. He needs support as a gay man with mental health issues.
This is the same as supporting your female employees, your POC employees, and your neurodivergent employees. In any group of employees you’re going to, hopefully, have some diversity. Are you supporting that diversity or just expecting everyone to adhere to some “norm” that looks a lot like middle-aged, straight, white guys.
The reality is that the labor force is diverse, and your employees are as well. There are also going to be a wide range of life issues that they are dealing with. Mental health is one of them, and based on the statistics, someone who works for you is dealing with some form of anxiety, depression, or some other issue. Wouldn’t it be great, and help employee retention, if they were supported at work?
Erik mentions some of the tips are pretty simple. Giving them access to a platform like Headspace, or having someone trained in Mental Health First Aid, but some will be harder. If the workplace is a contributing factor in the mental health of employees, it’s going to take a change in the way you work to truly support your employees. I hope you will consider that and do the hard work to make things better. Younger workers have made it clear they will not tolerate a workplace that harms their mental health. Change now before you have no more employees.
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